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Moving Forward, Myles Brennan

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So here we are, still basking in the glow of the best passing season college football has ever seen. What Joe Burrow did will probably never be matched at LSU and any and all comparisons to him are unfair. He was a 4th year Pro Bowler playing college ball. But since time exists, and the future is imminent, we must, at some point, look forward. I can relate to Myles a little bit here. Real Life Canadian Seth Galina, now at Pro Football Focus, has an expertise that will be tricky for me, with no coaching background (yet???), to quite match. He did unbelievable work for this site and I’d be extremely remiss if I didn’t give a shout to the legend I’ll be stepping in for. His work analyzing Brandon Harris inspired me to get into Xs and Os with a sizable focus on the QB position in the first place. He was the Joe Burrow of the LSU film sphere, and I’m the Myles Brennan.

So with that, we take a look at what Myles Brennan showed on tape last year. It wasn’t a ton, and it truly is impossible to form conclusions based on garbage time tape, but I’m gonna try to just look at what he put on film this past season in the current system (which isn’t changing by the way, don’t listen to Bama twitter).

To start, we have a stick concept out of a bunch set. The idea here is to put their flat defender in conflict, having to choose between widening to the out or stay home on the stick route. Here, he widens just enough for Brennan to throw the curl, He makes the right read (especially with that corner in position to possibly jump Dillon’s out), but the double clutch indicates the timing isn’t quite fluid for him all the time, I’ve seen this pop up now and again with Brennan over the last couple years. Something to keep an eye on next year.

This play really makes my heart soar, I could watch this gif forever because this is fantastic quarterbacking. So LSU pairs this drive concept (a shallow crosser with a dig just behind it) with a boundary (closest to sideline relative to where the ball is snapped) post. This is a good traditional cover two beater because the half field safety will usually follow the post deep, which isolates that inside backer, who the QB will then read. In this case, that boundary half field safety is playing a robber technique where he could jump any shallow routes to disrupt. So Brennan’s read here is the backer, but now, with the robber, he’s forced to make an additional confirmation. He sees the safety and backer both take Dillon’s shallow so he, off a hitch step (with a little extra beat that may have been taken to confirm what the robber is actually robbing while staying in rhythm), makes the right read and gets a completion. The throw itself looks sketchy, but it’s not. If he led him like normal, the backer would have been in the window and could have knocked it away. Burrow made the same adjustment with Thad Moss in the Texas game on a similar throw. Complex processing, adaptive placement, good timing, and good movement. Over the moon @ this Myles, please make those things habits.

So here, a classic Sean Payton 3 vert (LSU ran this in 2018 a lot too). The field side (opposite of boundary side) safety caps Palmer’s seam vert (bent route stem based on space and leverage, common principle in vertical concepts) so Brennan has some nice one on one to the outside, where he moves his attention. Normal circumstances would have Brennan throw this deep and allow the receiver to run under it but the corner has vertical leverage so he strategically “underthrows” this ball so his guy can get it. More adaptive placement!!! As a bonus, this is a loooong throw from the far hash and he absolutely RIPS it. Arm strength is a massively overrated attribute, but it is a luxury, and Brennan has an anti-aircraft missile attached to his right shoulder.

One thing you hear constantly from QB film nerds is “backside dig.” There’s a good reason for this, digs are often paired to the backside of different route combos and you have to work fairly deep into a progression to do so, which is hard and not done consistently by every QB. If you remember, Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris had massive difficulty working off their first options. This, from Brennan, is gorgeous. So the route combo is a deep post, a deep over underneath it, and a dig behind that (as well as a deep vert to the field, but I never saw Burrow or Brennan throw that on this). This also may just be 4 verts with Palmer and Jenkins bending their route stems but LSU ran the Post/Deep Over/Dig all the time in a similar form so I think it’s that. Either way, Brennan gets to his third progression with gorgeous footwork. First option looks to be that boundary post which is a no go against this deep cover 3 since the DB has a half mile of cushion, He’s off that by the top of his drop as you’d want, he moves his eyes and adjusts his feet to the deep over by Palmer which isn’t there since the MOF (middle of field) safety kinda drives on it a little. He adjusts his feet once more to the dig which is open and he rips it perfectly in stride. All of this is done perfectly in rhythm at an extremely rapid pace with perfect footwork and placement.

This one’s really bad, he kinda just ignores the CB having outside leverage and Leeroy Jenkinses this ball to the sideline anyway. I’d rather him just eat it and take the sack.

Now we finish with his only TD of the year. He works off Dillon’s route which is just flat out bracketed af and moves to McMath’s comeback. He kinda takes an extra beat to get this ball out. If it’s 4 verts like I suspect it may be (just with everyone altering their routes a ton based on leveraging and spacing), he may be forced to wait to see exactly what McMath does, hence that extra beat. If that’s the case, I feel like McMath could have continued vertically with Brennan hitting him on the back shoulder but whatever. The defender has a bit of inside leverage so Brennan RIPS it outside where only McMath can get it, and he does the rest. As a side note I can’t believe he still has hands after catching this. I’d retire, it probably hurt so much. If I’m right about it being 4 verts, really great reaction and throw by Brennan. If I’m not, he took an extra beat he didn’t need to but got away with it due to placement and velocity.

I’m not gonna lie, I was all over Brennan as a recruit and haven’t really seen a ton to dampen that, I think he’s gonna be pretty good. Especially so with all world first round freak JaMarr Chase and deserving 5 star talent/additional first round candidate Terrace Marshall out wide. Combine that with an elite scheme, and Brennan has a lot to work with.

Bonus: LOL